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Jarring notes in the Sa Re Ga show
Patcy N | January 25, 2006 16:38 IST
Zee TV's Hero Honda Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge is neck-deep in controversy once again.
Three of the singing talent search show's contestants -- Himani, Vinit and Hemchandra -- quit. The reason cited was that they had been threatened by the outlawed militant outfit United Liberation Front of Asom. But they returned to the show the next episode.
Earlier this month, Ismail Durbar, one of the judges, walked out of the television show. Because one of his students, Nihira, was voted out. The show divides contestants into gharanas, each gharana under the supervision of a judge.
"I got upset then [when Nihira was voted out], as I thought that was a wrong decision," says Durbar. "I wanted to quit at that very moment. But I was overcome with shock. And I did not want to go in silence. I wanted to quit in front of the audience, as I wanted them to know what was happening."
But when the other judges – music directors Aadesh Shrivastava and Himesh Reshammiya – gave less marks to another Durbar gharana contestant Debojit's performance, Durbar decided it was time.
He walked out of the show, saying the situation was too suffocating for him.
It was felt that the audience sympathised with Debojit and the 'injustice' done to him, and voted for him.
But now, Durbar is back, and he explains why.
"Gajendraji [Singh, the show's producer] came to my house the next morning and tried to convince me for five hours to return to the show. He told me that I was the only person who has always stood by the truth. I said I would return -- because I did not want him to suffer for no fault of his.
"Another reason was that Debojit told me that if I would quit, he would follow me, as he did not have anyone in Mumbai, and he would follow his mentor.
"I asked Debojit to clarify what was actually wrong, and the child started crying. He told me he was an engineer by profession. He worked hard to become a singer. He knew that if he quit with me, his singing career would be ruined. He also said he had no links with ULFA [Debojit is from Assam, and ULFA is an Assamese militant outfit], and that someone was plotting against him."
Does Durbar think Aadesh Shrivastava created the controversy?
"It is obvious but I will not take names for the sake of decency. I have tried telling Aadesh many times backstage."
The two music composers don't see eye to eye, and have had confrontations before.
It is not yet clear if ULFA actually threatened the contestants or not. Durbar claims Himani, Vinit and Hemchandra quit due to pressure.
"I know why they quit but I will not tell. They have quit under somebody's pressure. And the three of them told me this themselves," he says.
Incidentally, the episode after the ULFA threat drama, Himani was voted out.
"When I returned to the shoot, Himani [who was in Shrivastava's gharana] came crying to me and apologised so many times. I told her that she should take her own decisions, and not act under pressure."